The idea of dating or marrying younger men is not novel to our modern society. For women, the practice dates back to ages. Originally, it started as a tradition in which the wives of elder male siblings who died either childless or the widows, who chose to remain with their late husbands’ families and too young to remain single, were handed over to younger men in the families. In a nutshell, it’s an act of inheritance. This is even being practiced in royal families, an arrangement by which succeeding traditional ruler takes over the wives of his predecessor. This does not exclude a man enthroned as king from inheriting the wives of his late father; ditto other families in the society.
This age-long practice is not limited to African culture. Though the West had since jettisoned the inheritance practice, yet, it is a phenomenon in family inheritance sharing as widows are often given out to younger men for proper ‘care’ as part of responsibilities fate has bestowed on n them. They are also made to understand that it is confirmation of their becoming ‘able men and potential family heads’ they are destined to be.
Even in the religious holy books, especially the Bible, the story of Judah’s widowed daughter in-law, Tamar, was a confirmation that the practice is age-long and cultural. According to Genesis 38: 11–14, if Judah had not reneged on his promise to Tamar that his newly born baby boy would marry her in place of her late husband when the boy matured later in years, the age disparity between the boy and Tamar would be at least, 25 years. Just like the case of the new President of France, Emmanuel Macron and his wife, Brigitte (Nee Trogneus).
Similarly, the story of Naomi and her daughters in-law was another case in point. In Ruth 1: 11 Naomi passionately entreated her daughters in-law to return to their respective cities and families just because she had no husband and was already aged whereby it’s impossible for her to conceive with a male child that would eventually marry them as wives later in life. I’m sure you know the rest of the story. In both cases, if it had been possible, those women would have been married to men young enough to be their sons.
However, this unconventional conjugal relationship is more of cross-bearing to women involved. The woman feels happy and satisfied in the affair only when the ‘baby boy’ is happier. The guy holds the key to mood swing in the relationship. The more attention he gives, the livelier she becomes. The more seemingly faithful he appears, the more committed and secured she feels. It is usually a situation where she endures more than she freely expresses herself. In many situations, women in relationship with younger guys go through psychological and emotional transfix.
For many, if not most of the women, they live with phony happiness and cope with transient satisfaction laced with bottled up reticence, emotional suppression and psychological servitude in the relationship. This is so because many of them suffer physical, domestic and sexual abuse in silence. They feel shy or ashamed to share their gory tales with anyone else. There was a case of a very adorable Nollywood actress who was dating a younger dude many years ago. This guy with bulged biceps would throw heavy punches at this very beautiful single mother indiscriminately at the slightest case of disagreement or argument. She had to breakup with him, not easily though, before she regained her sanity and self-worth as a celebrity. And that was after almost two years of ‘suffering and smiling’ kind of relationship.
There’s another crossover Nollywood actress who wasted two or three years of her life trying to build a home with a younger guy. This light-skinned thespian had determined to make a difference with her prospective marriage with this showbiz figure cum entertainment management and event planning dude.
I asked why she didn’t attend the burial of one of her colleagues, her answer was that “since my husband was there, I chose to stay back, more so, I have phobia for such a ceremony.” Meanwhile, I knew from the onset that this her “husband” was on a funfair with the relationship. He fed fat on her and at the end of the day, they parted ways after a couple of fisticuffs and frequent mutual suspicion of unfaithfulness in the relationship. Not much injuries were sustained because she, too, readily dealt her randy baby boy the same hand.
A businesswoman had a trust issue with her husband for almost two years because of his alleged reckless sexual escapade around town. For fear of possibly contracting sexually transmitted infections, she closed up her legs and denied sexual intimacy with him. Eighteen months down the line, she started going out with a much younger guy people thought was her younger brother.
The game turned sour when she sustained serious injuries from the beating unleashed on her by her baby boy. Reason: she failed to report at his (baby boy’s) bedroom at the very time her siblings, in-laws and neighbours converged at her home celebrating her husband’s birthday. She regretted having anything to do with him and vowed never to continue the affair.
It is the baby boys that benefit the most in such relationships. They enjoy financial and material incentives from their ‘big babes’ or ‘big mamas’ as a silent condition to keep the affair going. In fact, some ‘mamas’ won’t mind to marry their ‘baby boys’ if the honeymoon experience is guaranteed to last longer. If you ask many of them, they venture into the relationship for two major reasons: for satisfactory sexual pleasure which they believe only agile and youthful dudes can deliver; and also to manage the affair on their own terms believing that whoever pays the piper will automatically dictate the tune. In addition, paucity of men in the ‘market’ is a reason they choose to settle for whoever is available; age disparity notwithstanding.
However, some women vehemently detest the idea. They believe it is insulting for a guy much junior in age to sleep with them in the name of love. “It is despicable to me. It’s nothing short of allowing my younger brother to sleep with me.
I detest it seriously. Whenever we have issues or he, in fit of fury, hits me, who do I complain to?
That my younger brother is beating me silly because we are in relationship? Never!” This was the opinion of a widow who declined the overtures of her in-laws to marry one of her late husband’s younger brothers.
Experience has shown that most of such relationships don’t survive beyond the level of sexual pleasure. Few lucky ones that snowballed into marriage have been a burden than fulfillment to the woman. For love-bemused women, dating younger men surely has its own sweet, fun and good side but not without its ugly flipside.